President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Friends, colleagues,
Our country has been going through a very difficult situation over the last several weeks as the central areas of European Russia and the Volga Federal District face widespread fires. This is a problem for everybody, and everyone is dealing with it in one way or another, but the people here in this hall are those who are directly involved with this problem and whose activities, efforts, willpower and other best human qualities help us overcome this disaster. I am referring to personnel of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior, forestry and other agencies.
I am certain that we will manage to keep the situation under control, even though, as you are well aware, the weather is absolutely abnormal, and despite the highest level of caution the situation cannot be fully manageable by authorities or humans in general. Of course, this does not mean that we could not be better prepared and hence performance by every agency will be carefully examined to see what was done and what was not. But in any case, what is happening around is an absolutely exceptional and extraordinary scenario for our country, and it is due directly to your efforts that following proper mobilisation of all resources the situation quite quickly became controllable in most central areas of Russia and in the Volga Federal District.
There are still many difficulties ahead, simply because it is clear that the temperatures are not lowering, the heat is not subsiding, and unfortunately, rains are not to be expected soon. This means that we must all be on our guard, but this does not mean that it’s too early to express our gratitude to everyone who has already acted like a hero, helping our people deal with this tragedy – risking their lives while rescuing, dragging people out of the flames and extinguishing the fires. Thank you very much for this.
I am sure that your service to our nation will remain as distinguished as it has been. The decorations I am presenting today are battle honours and that is why we have not invited you for the presentation to the Kremlin, to the Presidential Executive Office, as these decorations are to be presented in the field – in this case, at the Department of the Interior – which I think is reasonable because unfortunately the problem is still enormous and everyone continues countering it, but we now have a chance to recognise those whose deeds deserve award.
I would like to thank you once again and suggest that we now move on to the state decoration award ceremony.
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These events are pleasant, and they always unite us, because a state decoration is an appreciation of one’s personal labours, as well as simply a happy event in the life of anybody.
I hope that you will have other memorable events like this in your lives, but I certainly hope that they will not be due to such critical situations as the one we face today. Granted, life is full of all sorts of surprises, and you have chosen a career where there is a high number of unexpected events.
I hope that we will jointly bring this difficult situation with the fires under control as soon as possible; nevertheless I would like to note that, no doubt, you are truly ready to continue serving our nation, I can simply see that from your dispositions. Our nation is very large, very complicated, and very much in need for people like you – people who practically help their country and honestly perform their duties, and these are not altisonant words I just say to make you feel good. I want to say it simply because it is true.
I would like to express my genuine hope that you will have many positive moments in your lives. I hope that you, or at least some of you, will spend this evening with your families and friends who will also congratulate you on receiving state decorations which is a very pleasant occasion.
I want to say one more time that the state deeply values what you have done. Have no doubt, we will continue doing everything to modernise your agencies, to develop the Ministry of Emergency Situations, to strengthen the Ministry of Defence, to improve the Ministry of the Interior, and to refine the performance of the non-military agencies that assist the nation in preserving its wealth. We will put in our every effort, but I genuinely count on you to help in this process.
Thank you very much for your work and for your courageous actions in this situation, which is extremely difficult for our country.